Instead of being clever in the title of this review, I wanted to make it clear how good this watch is considering the price. I have handled a good deal of watches, perhaps not as many as I would like, but enough to know that price does not always equal quality of construction. Meaning you can enjoy a superbly built watch at a very reasonable price. Sure a $100 watch is probably going to feel like it is shabbily put together compared to something in the several thousand dollar range, but once you go up from there, things can get a bit fuzzy. However, some watches seem to hit built quality that is out of their price league.
Handle a $5000 watch and a $50,000 watch and there will not be too much noticeable difference in terms of how it feels. Sure there will be different complications, movements, and materials used, but enough of the time the watch will feel the same. Often enough, watches in the $1000-$5000 range actually feel more solid than those priced higher. There are a number of reasons for this, but it really has to do with the level of craftsmanship at the watch maker’s facility. The much higher priced watches are more for show, combining precious materials and delicate complications. A solidly built watch can come from unlikely places.
Which brings me to Marcello C, a relative infant among many watch makers, having only been founded in the 1990s. Marcello C takes a simple approach to making watches. Essentially, they use time-tested and approved classic designs with their own twist, apply high grade materials, and sell them at affordable prices. It is a Swiss watch maker with a German watch maker ethic, and it works. Part of being a newer watch maker is getting your name and product out there, and aggressive pricing is a big part of this. Even though Marcello C watches are priced well, their watches are slowly increasing in cost as they become more comfortable with the admiring fans they have been able to increasingly cultivate.
I learned about Marcello C watches several years ago, and instantly recognized that the Nettuno 3 was the best watch to buy for my budget and desire to enter the world of fine watches. Since then, I have Acquired two Nettuno 3 models, one with a black face, and one with a silver face. For the silver faced version, I outfitted it with a thick brown leather strap, which looks very handsome in my opinion contrasted against the silver on steel tones of the face and case.
The first thing you’ll notice about the black faced version of the Nettuno 3 is that it resembles a Rolex Submariner. The number indicators are different, but the illusion is not coincidental. The Rolex Submariner is one of the most appreciated and recognized watch designs ever created, and has been emulated by watch makers for years. The Marcello C Nettuno 3 takes this diving watch design and makes good use of its most functional and aesthetic elements. You have to know the Rolex Submariner well, but the Nettuno 3 actually improves on many areas. For one thing, the bracelet is a pinnacle of comfort. Unlike most Rolex Submariner clasps, which are too large, the Nettuno 3 clasp on the bracelet is thin and functional while still offering the safety of a double locking mechanism. A tasteful Marcello C logo is laser etched into the metal here, and on other part of the watch such as the crown, and the case back. Another obvious area of improvement over the Rolex Submariner is where the watch is polished or left brushed. In my opinion, the Rolex sometimes looks confused in terms of selecting the different treatments of the metal, where the Nettuno 3 is graceful in its application of polished and brushed finishes on the case and bracelet.
Ergonomically, the Marcello C Nettuno 3 suffers in no areas. The crown is just the right size and easy to operate and unscrew, even though it protected by mini lugs on the case. I often unscrew the crown on my Nettuno 3 watches in order to manually wind the watch, even though they are automatics. I do this because I wear several watches in rotation, and want my Nettunos always ready if they are called for wearing duty. As I indicated before, the bracelet is very comfortable, and easy to adjust with the screwed links. The bracelet also features a diver’s extension. This is a little extension that is meant to be used if you are wearing the watch over a diving suit. This is a diving watch of course, and it is fully capable of being used during dives with its 300 meter depth rating.
Another diving feature is the watch’s rotating bezel with is a pleasure to turn offering 60 satisfying clicks. Some rotating bezels I have used seem flimsy and disjointed. The Nettuno 3 bezel smoothly, yet firmly moves in one direction around the face offering time measures of up to one hour. I usually use this to measure how much time I have left on a parking meter. I now prefer watches with rotating bezels, as the added functionality is welcome to almost any watch, detracts from the look of an empty bezel which is common.
The legibility of the watch has never failed me. The hands are classically shaped without being too obtrusive; they are often referred to as “baton hands”. One minor complaint about the Marcello C Nettuno 3 has been that it is not bright enough in darkness. It is true that it could have more super Luminova coated on the hands, but they would then suffer from looking too blotchy as the luminent on hands must be thick in order to radiate more light. The hands are purposefully delicate to increase legibility, and I have personally never had trouble reading the hands in darkness. If you are someone who requires bright watches for night viewing, there are other watches available that have very large, richly coated hands and number indicators that will serve for such purposes. The Nettuno 3 remains classic and aesthetic despite its utilitarian roots.
The movement of the standard Marcello C Nettuno 3 is the ever so popular ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. Although other Nettuno 3 models (with a GMT or chronograph complication utilize other movements). ETA 2824-2 movements have been the staple movement of many watches since the 1970s when the 2824 movement originally was released. Since then it has proved an excellent and reliable movement found in many watches much more expensive than the Nettuno 3, which at well under $1000 is a bargain. The ETA 2824-2 has often been touted as being chronometer accurate. Meaning that if Marcello C paid to get the chronometer certification, the Nettuno 3 would most likely pass with flying colors. I have personally noticed a high level of accuracy with my Marcello C watches. Typically, you will have to adjust any automatic movement once a month or so by about a minute or two to compensate for loss or gain of seconds which is completely standard. Marcello C takes special care to “adjust” the ETA 2824 movements within the Nettuno 3 cases to ensure maximum accuracy and reliability.
I have seen several versions of the Marcello C Nettuno 3 watch. Along with being available in various colors, there are models with different hands, with or without the date magnifier, and even GMT (24 hour time, also use for a second time zone) and chronograph versions. The most popular version, and my pick is the standard model, designed to be elegant, and purposefully reminiscent of the best diving watch design and style ever formulated. My Nettuno 3 watches have been through a good deal of activity with me, and never let me down. Always working, always pleasant to look at, and they look good on the wrist at a very comfortable, but never petite 42mm. One size up from the Nettuno 3 are the Marcello C Tridente models. These are a tad larger (44mm I believe), and have a lower depth rating. Otherwise the watches are virtually the same as they both use an ETA 2824-2 movement.
Marcello C watches have a limited although existing distribution in the US. There are now at least 2 authorized dealers, and Marcello C watches show up on eBay from time-to-time. If you want a great-looking, well-built classic-looking divers watch, you really cannot go wrong with the Marcello C Nettuno 3, or any other Marcello C watch for that matter. I owe Marcello C a lot because as I said earlier, it was the brand that got me into nice watches in the first place.
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